I eat a lot of sandwiches. I make considerable effort to seek out the unique, the rare and the peculiar. I enjoy every sandwich I eat, but, sadly, most are not particularly noteworthy or distinguished. The opportunity to experience something truly extraordinary does not come along often. When it does, I do not hesitate.
And so last Thursday, when I learned via Twitter that The Pig would be serving a brains ‘n’ eggs sandwich, I immediately cleared my calendar for the following afternoon. It’s fairly accurate to describe me as having sandwiches on the brain, but I had never before had brains on my sandwich. Though perhaps bizarre by today’s standards, brains ‘n’ eggs was once a popular enough dish, at least regionally, that Rep. Howard Coble, a U.S. congressman from North Carolina who was born in Greensboro in 1931, submitted his family recipe to a congressional cookbook. “It was a fairly regular breakfast, not at all unusual,” the congressman writes.
The Pig’s brains ‘n’ eggs sandwich is probably far more shocking in concept than in flavor profile. It features a heaping portion of the aforementioned veal brains and scrambled eggs perched atop two thick slices of fresh tomato and a generous portion of fried head cheese on a grilled, buttery bun slathered with salsa verde. The brain is milder than you might expect and has a completely inoffensive texture similar to that of standard loose sausage. The salsa verde offers a welcome tang, but the real star is the fried head cheese, which, in addition to proving a snapping crunch the sandwich otherwise lacks, adds an element of spontaneity to every bite. Because the congealed meat jelly lacks the uniform consistency of, say, ground beef, you never really never know what you’re gonna get.
Novelty aside, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable sandwich. On the menu now for weekend brunch and possibly weekday lunch, it’s unclear how long it will be available. Considering the cholesterol content of brain, I cannot in good conscience encourage partaking at anything approaching a regular frequency, but you should try it at least once, while you still can. If you love it, let ’em know it.